VIEWING TAXES THROUGH A DIFFERENT LENS…
(…might give us more useful perspectives on how to deal with them…)

As far back as the dawn of every ancient society before us “taxation” has been a sore subject for everyone, and, those tasked with collecting it universally considered as the lowest form of humanity. Even old St. Paul, before his supposed miraculous conversion from being a tax collector named Saul, had borne the social stigma of being part of such a vile profession.

Today nothing much has changed since those ancient times about how people view the subject; and, it still remains just as contentious a subject as it ever has. This is especially true among all those “honorable” ones whom we call…Members of Congress…not to mention every one of our Presidents that ever was as well. So perhaps viewing taxes through a different lens might give us more useful perspectives on how to deal with them…and how to do it right besides.

As a first step let’s consider –TAXES – not as an intrusive and unwanted imposition but simply as our – MEMBERSHIP DUES – for being a member of the national club to which we belong. If we can start thinking of taxation in those terms then all the other issues related to it become a lot less contentious and much easier to reconcile.

But before we plunge into any nitty-gritty details involved with that, we need to ask ourselves this very critical question: just exactly what are the revenues from those membership dues to be used for? Only two things come to mind:

1)To pay for what’s needed just to keep the doors open and the lights on for our national club house, and,
2)To pay for the level and scope for all the amenities we’d like to have in it.

From that perspective of course we then have to ensure we’re savvy enough to elect a Board of Governors which will always approach the matter from that perspective, and more importantly, have the fiduciary fiscal discipline…to stick to it.

All of which then brings us to the next critical question that must be asked, which is probably the most contentious issue related to it:
Just exactly how do we structure the collection of those membership dues so that the process is equitable for all the members of our national club?
Let’s face it, the reason it’s so contentious is because our national club membership is as diverse as any can be. So because of that diversity how can we make those membership dues equitably affordable for all? The fact that everyone is still arguing and grousing about it shows we’ve yet to come up with a workable consensus to do it.

But let’s take a look at how we’re doing it right now, and see if there’s a way we can correct all its defects and absurdities. We’ll illustrate this with a pie chart…a revenue pie chart.

 As we can see, there’s something grossly unbalanced in the proportions between what the two kinds of members contribute as dues. That is, Individual Members are paying some 60% of the dues load, while Business Members are only paying barely some 30% of that dues load. Obviously we need to re-balance things so that the membership dues load is distributed on a more equitable basis between the two by making it closer to a 40% and 50% split so that the pie chart ends up looking more like this:

 As best as we can figure re-balancing and broadening the dues base this way so that all members are paying dues on an equitable basis is the only practical way to do that. But because we have to consider that great diversity of membership, the only common denominator available to us to do it is with a taxation system based on a fixed percentage of everyone’s – GROSS INCOME – from all sources…much like the tithing method we use to support our religious organizations.

Simply put, whether a member wears threadbare jeans and uses rubber go-aheads on his or her feet, or sports high-end alpaca suits or Prada wear and shod with either Gucci or Ferragamo footwear, that way they would all be paying the same percentage rate regardless of what their respective Gross Income levels might be. As an example if that percentage were say 10%, a member with $1000 in gross income would contribute $100 in membership dues, while a member with $10,000 in gross income would contribute $1000 in membership dues, yet both would be contributing at the same rate but in proportion to their ability to pay those dues. Thus setting up a – FLAT RATE ON GROSS INCOME – taxation system would not only broaden the base for collecting membership dues but also resolve the question of “fairness” in that collection process.

The next critical question then becomes: how do we determine what that common percentage should be?

Here again, the only useful basis for computing that is to tie it to whatever our national club’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) might be, and figure what percentage can be skimmed from it which would cause the least amount of heartburn among the membership.

Tying that percentage rate to the level of our GDP should also satisfy our club’s Board of Governors because that would give them what they need to take care of basic costs to maintain our club house and pay for all those amenities we all want besides…all without having to keep coming back to the membership to ask for more…or run up huge deficits and debt…the one thing that’s sure to rile them up more than anything else. Better yet, and even if our GDP growth rate were at only an anemic quarter percent increase every year, that would still mean there would be a progressive annual increase in available funds, thereby making that Board of Governors look good as the kind of  “good old boys”(and girls),  the members would want to retain for very, very long terms on it (as the old saying goes… political considerations are always at play).

Well, if we can start thinking of taxation in such terms perhaps we’ll eventually come up with something better than what we have right now. Who knows, and this may be a bit of wishful thinking on our part here…but perhaps all those good old boys and girls we call Members of Congress…will also think that way…when they start to ponder about doing what they call “reform” of the way we’re currently pay taxes.

CENTURION